How to Get the Best Offer on a Large Collection

If you send a dealer, with whom you haven’t previously worked with, a list of 1000 cards, they are unlikely to price them all. Here’s an option.

From 1991-2001, we used to buy older unopened cases. Customers would email/fax us a list of what they had and I’d mark our buy prices. Since we dealt in unopened cases, there were a hundred or so different items and I knew most of the prices without having to look them up. A typical deal would be 2 or 3 each of 10 or 15 different cases. It would take me 5 to 10 minutes to write down our buy prices and send it back to the seller.

Pricing a list of single cards presents a much more time consuming task. A seller might email a list of 500 cards ranging in price from $20 – $500. If I’ve previously bought from the seller and I know they’re serious, I’ll spend an hour or two looking up the value of the cards to come up with a strong offer. If I don’t know the seller, it’s unlikely I’m going to price all the cards. I might price the 20 most valuable cards to see if the seller is serious. If we come to terms on those, I’ll price the rest.

Many dealers work this way. They key for the buyer is to make sure the seller pays you a fair price not only for the high end cards, but for the entire collection. As a seller, you want to get an offer that’s representative of your collection. Ask the potential buyer to give you prices on some (not all) of the lower and middle priced cards. Some dealers have specialties; maybe it’s mint and centered PSA 9’s. They’ll pay top dollar for those cards but they’re not interested in the off center PSA 8’s. If they have to buy them as part of a collection, they might pay half of what another dealer would pay. That’s why it’s important to get quote on a variety of cards, not just the mint and centered Jordan Rookies.

Divide and Conquer

Many collectors have a variety of items. Autographs, memorabilia, vintage cards, modern cards, graded cards, raw cards and unopened boxes/cases. While it might be convenient to deal with one company, you will likely be sacrificing some money if you do. Some collectors don’t mind because of the ease of the transaction. If you have a large collection, we suggest you consider dividing it up. Dealers who specialize in autographs probably don’t pay the highest prices for unopened material.